What if someone lived by the whim of the dice? Would we think them sane or insane? Well, let’s be honest, we’d probably tend towards the latter, but wouldn’t it be liberating? If you had the die to make your choices for you, you’d never have to take responsibility or feel guilty for your actions. This interesting and provocative concept is explored in Six Sided Man, a delightfully absurd production featuring veteran performers, Gavin Robertson and Nicholas Collett.
Based on a 1971 novel by Luke Rhinehart, this play has had a long and successful history due in no small part to the work of Robertson. Performed at the Fringe earlier this year, Six Sided Man returns to Adelaide for two shows at The Forge, a suitable and beautiful venue.
Six Sided Man is the story of a psychiatrist (Collett) who has decided to live his life by the dice. His decision is based upon some crazy logic: that by obeying the dice (which are overseen by God), he is obeying God; thus the die is God. This brilliantly twisted piece of writing comes to reflect the play in general, which is bizarre yet entirely entertaining.
Robertson and Collett are fantastically skilled actors, as you’d have to be for a play such as this. The elements of physical theatre are performed incredibly well. A complete absence of props does not stop us from seeing the rolling of dice, the opening of a window or the turning of taps. Robertson and Collett move about the relatively empty stage as if tangible objects surround them, and use the imaginary props to great effect. The pair also interact with one another with precision, adding to the narrative with silent movements. Six Sided Man is a great example of how minimal use of set pieces can be used to create a unique and interesting world.
Six Sided Man is hardly simple though. It dives into the psychology of the characters, using lighting to frame the shifts from reality into memory and thought.
It is, above all, a well-written play. The drama between psychiatrist and patient plays out in an entertaining, dramatic, and often quite funny way. Simple gestures and the slightest movements were enough to cause laughter. The play is full of dark humour, with some clever jokes and memorable lines that will strike a chord with almost anyone.
You shouldn’t go into the Six Sided Man expecting a run-of-the-mill experience. It is a play that is anything but normal, built around the shattering of logical thought and action. While this can be a little challenging, it makes the experience all the more interesting. The characters themselves sum it up well during one of their on-stage arguments: “At least with logic you know where you are”, “Well isn’t that dull.”
Reviewed by James Rudd
- GMT Productions International
- GMT Productions International on Facebook
- Company Gavin Robertson
- Nicholas Collett Productions
Venue: The Forge, Marryatville High School, Kensington Road (off-street parking available via The Crescent)
Season: 13 & 20 October 2013
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $15 – $25
Bookings: Online through DramaTix or BASS
Photo Credit: GMT Productions International